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Something that always bothered me about drug research

Often they test stuff first on rats and if there is a problem they stop. However from this article it is clear that even our closest 'relatives' handle disease differently. How many drugs out there that could cured or treated many human diseases have been abandoned when rats got ill? Of course I know that the only way to continue such research is if we are in Nazi Germany or in China testing chinese Prisoners.

Chimpanzee Gene Study May Help Cure Humans
http://www.taiwanheadlines.gov.tw

The results of a recent analysis of chimpanzee genes may be helpful in developing cures for hepatitis B and C, as well as AIDS and Alzheimer's disease, sources at Taiwan's National Health Research Institutes said on Thursday.

The research paper was published online in November by the scientific journal Genome Research.

The principal author, Chen Feng-chi, an assistant researcher in NHRI's Division of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, said that humans and chimpanzees are closely related to each other genetically and have 99 percent of genes in common. However, some diseases that are extremely dangerous to humans have altogether no effect on chimpanzees -- and that one-percent variance may hold the key to researching a possible cure.




4 Responses
Avatar universal
Life-threatening complications in the later stages of hepatitis B and C are common in human patients, but such symptoms never occur in chimpanzees.

The human immunodeficiency virus often leads to AIDS in humans, while there are only a few cases in which HIV in chimpanzees develops into AIDS. And chimpanzees never get Alzheimer's disease, even in old age.

After close comparisons were made between humans and chimpanzees on 7,000 genes related to biological functions, the team found that humans have an additional 840,000 gene deletions and insertions in genetic sequencing, which may lead to the development of the diseases.

Gene deletions and insertions are very similar in the analogy of a word, for example "vocabulary," that is spelled correctly as "vocabulary" in the chimpanzee genetic sequence, but spelled "vocbulary" or "vocaebulary" in humans, Chen explained.

Chen noted these deletions and insertions may alter the expression of genes and interfere with the functions of RNA and protein, thus creating an environment in which certain human-specific diseases develop.

Avatar universal
Yes, I always wondered about it ... especially when I worked at the cancer research lab and we were injecting little rats with cancer producing pathogens
Avatar universal
Every drug that is a prescription, or has ever been a prescription, is tested at some point.  We could go back to the wagon days on the frontier and have no testing if that would make everybody feel better!  I for one, think that it's a good that there are people willing to be guinea pigs for new drugs.  This is why I've signed up for the clinical trial for Teleprevir (Vertex drug).  I don't know if I'll be picked yet.  I've just completed the screening blood work.  Everything is back on my labs except the viral load and genotype.  All of my labs so far have met the trial standards.  

Susan
Avatar universal
Good luck, Susan, with your trial!  You are a fighter and I wish you all the best!!!
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